Damian Lillard put up 55 points, and it wasn’t enough. He drilled an NBA playoff record 12 triples, and it wasn’t enough. He scored 17 straight points for the Blazers in the two overtime periods, and it wasn’t enough. Clutch shot after clutch shot were all wasted as Portland had no answer for Nikola Jokic once Nurkic fouled out for the third time in five games.
This will go down in the record books as a loss for the Blazers, but it should always be remembered as another classic Dame Time game. He hit two off-balance, game-tying threes to send the game into overtime and then another overtime.
Damian Lillard’s sheer excellence almost overcame all of the Portland Trail Blazers struggles
While Dame can hang his head high and truly speak with candor when he says he gave it his all in Game 5, not many other Blazers can say the same. His excellence may mask a lot of the Blazers struggles, but the word ‘almost’ will hang ugly after tonight.
Lillard almost single-handedly overcame a 10-0 deficit to start the game. He almost won a game in which the Blazers were down by 22 points. He almost made up for Jusuf Nurkic’s absence in the end of the game. He almost erased a terrible game for CJ McCollum. He almost made Robert Covington‘s two missed dunks in the clutch not matter.
Nevertheless, Lillard has nothing to show for his historic Game 5 effort besides a hot hand riding into a do-or-die Game 6 back in the Moda Center. Nurkic has still yet to prove that he can effectively slow down Jokic without fouling. His fourth and fifth fouls were on the offensive end of the court and his sixth was a shooting foul that came mere seconds after his fifth.
Nurkic, his teammates, and every Blazers fan and their mamas know how important he is in this matchup. If Nurkic can’t stay in the game, we’re sure to see another wasted divine performance from Dame.
Let’s take a look at a couple other takeaways from Game 5 that could prevent another wasted Dame Time appearance.